Gavel on flag Doctors have been complaining for years that the need to defend against medical malpractice compels them to order unnecessary tests and procedures. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Not only does defensive medicine exist, a new study has taken a fair stab at quantifying its cost.

As reported by the New York Times, a new paper published in draft form by the National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that the medical malpractice system actually adds about 5 percent to the intensity of health care patients get in the hospital—not that they’re any better off for it.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.

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